Our plans are stuck in park’s mud

Todmorden Agricultural Show members survey the state of Centre Vale Park, Todmorden.
Todmorden Agricultural Show members survey the state of Centre Vale Park, Todmorden.

THE state of Centre Vale Park is already putting next summer’s community events at risk.

This week Todmorden Agricultural Society has warned members they will have to make a decision within a month on whether to begin committing finances to hold their one-day agricultural show next June, or call the 2013 event off.

Officials have been monitoring the situation with the park’s main grassed area used as the showground and say it has not recovered at all from the summer’s deluges and the drainage system, installed when the Environment Agency undertook flood alleviation work on the park, simply isn’t working.

Financial commitments mean the agricultural society has to make a decision before Christmas on whether it will put on a show next year.

They will have to outlay several thousands of pounds as a deposit for marquee hire, and calling a full scale show off further down the line because the ground was unsuitable would eat further into the society’s reserves.

Their concern is that with wet, cold weather likely to be here through the winter, they would be reliant on dry, warm weather from early March for the ground to recover in time for a show in mid to late June.

Todmorden Agricultural Society president Mrs Shirley Fielder said she understood there were problems with the drains and the society believed these should have been better designed.

“We don’t think the park will be fit no matter what is done to it now. Todmorden’s Show has been on there for 80 years, so it should have been designed for purpose, so we can have a show, a carnival, football. We know that flooding and homes are more important than the show, but we should have been taken more into consideration and I don’t think we have.”

Members are being urged to attend the society’s annual meeting on Monday, November 19, at the Masonic Rooms, White Hart Fold, to learn more and similarly they will have to make a decision at the December 17 meeting.

They also want other user groups who are being or might be affected to contact them with a view to arranging a joint meeting. They are asked to ring Rob Goldthorpe on 01706 815648.

Society members and sheep section secretary Mrs Margaret Wood said there was an impermeable top layer of mud through which water was not getting through. “The vegetation is telling us it’s not draining. A natural marshland habitat is developing, supporting rushes, bog grasses and moss,” she said.

Adam Tunningley at the Environment Agency said: “We are aware of the problems which have been affecting the park and we have employed a specialist contractor to undertake a full survey of the drainage system.

“This has identified a number of minor defects, and we are now assessing the causes and what can be done. We will be working with Calderdale Council to determine who is best placed to manage any necessary repairs.”

A Calderdale Council spokesman said: “Calderdale Council is working with the Environment Agency and Todmorden Agricultural Society to review the situation and look into what works may be needed.”

Mayor Coun Abid Hussain said: “I hope the park is straight for the show and other events, to bring people into Todmorden. We don’t want people turning away from this lovely town.”